Monday, September 5, 2016

Residency recap

Spark Box Studio Picton, Ontario, Canada. Aug. 1-13, 2016

July 27: I leave for Canada having just completed three distinct exhibitions in Asheville, NC. I'm feeling ready to sow some seeds, experiment, and see what transpires. 



I stay in Toronto for five nights - fabulous city.

With travel restricting my material supply and knowing that I won't  have access to an art store during the residency, I must thoughtfully plan my materials list. At a store called DeSerres on Spadina Ave in Toronto I purchase:
• Set of 10 Golden Fluid Acrylics
• 1 tube Titanium White
• Small bottle of  DeSerres pouring medium
• 1  long-stem bright
• 1 small glue stick, 

• 1 hot pink marker 
• 36" x 60" un-stretched primed canvas

Materials packed in my suitcase from Asheville: assorted decorative papers, 30 sheets 8 x10 paper, 25 sheets 11” x 14” digital print cardstock, 1 almost-empty tube of sap green, small half-empty bottle of high-flow Nickel Azo Yellow and Quinachridone Nickel Azo Gold, 2 markers (green and purple), 4 short-handled brights, one liner brush, a black pen, a charcoal pencil.


Landscape by David Milne (1882-1953)
While in Toronto I visit the Art Gallery of Ontario where I see paintings by Canada’s Group of Seven and other Canadian painters such as David Milne. I am particularly struck by Milne's use of black and his pared-down landscapes. 

On Monday, August 1st, I take a bus to Belleville, Ontario where I'm greeted by Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping who are the founders of Spark Box Studio. 

As we drive to the residency my hosts explain that the area is in the midst of a drought having had no rain for several weeks. The roads are dusty and the fields are turning brown.





 

 


Spark Box Studio is located in rural Picton, Ontario in a farmhouse which is big enough to house three residents at a time. My studio is well-lit and clean with a good amount of wall space and tables. there is a separate print shop out back with an extensive library of books. The grounds are lovely and provide shade during the long, hot, mid-summer days. 



 

During the first couple days I work frenetically in the studio hashing out ideas that have been floating around in my head for awhile. I decide that I will work on paper until I have established some concrete ideas which I will then pursue on canvas.

The second night of the residency I take a long walk and almost get lost. The roads are long and flat. Everything looks the same and I can't figure out where I am. I don't  have my phone on me and the night gets dark quickly in Picton. I finally find my way home via the sunset. My neon blue sneakers have turned grey with dust.

Chinatown in Toronto

I spent a couple days experimenting with the backside of the primed canvas and also painting on the canvas while it’s flat on the table so the fluid paints puddle up in the rolls and ripples of the canvas. I like this method and will try it more in my studio at home.

Toronto

Another new element I invite into my residency studio practice: black paint. I have always mixed my own black – rarely have I used black out of the tube and even less have I mixed black with other colors. Lately I’ve been wanting a more toned-down palette for representational work. I take inspiration from David Milne and his black landscapes.



On the third evening of the residency Chrissy takes us to a Lake Ontario "beach". The water levels are low. Surrounding wells have dried up and residents must drive to a water-filling station which provides filtered water from the lake.


I frequently take walks in the neighboring farmer’s field. By the fourth day I'm really beginning to feel a connection to the landscape and I decided that I will continue the residency using the surrounding environs as my inspiration.

The flat flat landscape and brutally hot days and nights are new to me. Shadows extend for great lengths when the sun disappears behind the flat horizon and the sky turns into streaks of hot orange pink on blue.

Farm Dump

There is a junk pile a couple miles from the residency site, at the end of a trail that winds around a golden field. I love the way it provides an abrupt visual within the flat landscape - particularly when the sunset is breaking over it. I make a painting of it and am pleased with the results. This painting captures an aesthetic I’ve been going for and the subject matter resonates with me. (Heaps, mounds and piles are not new to me.) I decide I will continue to find unsentimental spaces where man and nature converge – eg, dumps, industrial lots, etc… I start looking for these spaces during my walks.




I quickly use up the canvas I had acquired in Toronto so Chrissy lets me purchase a 36” x 60” piece of raw canvas. She doesn't have anything to prime the fabric so I spent a night rubbing my murky grey paint water into the fibers of the canvas on the floor of the studio. I enjoy how the paint water stains the canvas so I throw black and yellow paint onto the wet canvas, allowing it to bleed through the fibers. It’s mesmerizing to do this. I hang up the wet bolt of canvas and go to bed.


Next day the canvas is dry and I began staining it more, then add more paint and marks. I adhere a piece of paper to the canvas  and rub it into the fibers. I feel like a fiber artist and it is exhilarating. 





I'm somewhat overwhelmed by the possibilities – with the use of decorative papers it is endless what could be achieved. These are my first attempts with working paint into raw canvas. I will try more in the future. 

Toronto after a Storm


The Perseid meteor shower in the early hours of August 12 is amazing. I go out at 4:00 am and lay down on the picnic table. I count over 50 shooting stars before dawn arrives.





Nearing the end of the residency, I take stock of everything I have worked on: nine works on canvas, several on paper – a portrait each day…It’s been a good run. I think my favorite piece is the very last painting I make on my last scrap of canvas  - an A&W hamburger stand.  

I roll up the canvases and pack them into a cardboard cylinder for their journey to Asheville where they will get more attention in my studio.

Aug. 13: Rain cascades over Ontario as we drive to the Belleville train station. The drought is ending.

Many thanks to Chrissy and Kyle of Spark Box Studio for this fabulous journey.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Self Exam; curator's statement

Many thanks to artist, educator and curator, Dawn Roe for inviting me to install an iteration of SELF EXAM, my daily portrait project, as part of a thing re | sembling a win•dow. Roe also composed a brilliant catalogue for the exhibit which can be viewed (and printed) here. Excerpts from the curator's statement are below.



"The portrait studies of Ursula Gullow take shape as a similarly vast pile....the many hundreds of representations are heavy in their directness as well as their multitude, confronting the viewer repeatedly in a manner that becomes disorienting – with each singular image inevitably melding into its neighbor, ultimately becoming a massive conglomeration."


"Installed as a flattened pile of color copies, the resulting conglomeration forms a taxonomy of self-image, functioning as both archive and diary. The directness of the bust study in Gullow’s reiterative installation of multiple reproductions allows the figure’s gaze to confront the viewer with an uneasy immediacy – a sense that translates back to the artist’s encounter with themselves in the initial moments of depiction, then further transformed via the original study’s removal from its place within the timeline to a reproduction affixed to the wall."


"Gullow’s head and shoulders compositions correlate to conventional expectations attached to portraiture, while other aesthetic choices function in direct opposition to classical traditions. Gullow is almost defiant in her willingness to allow visual distortions to skew proportions, or for particular mark-making strategies or color palette choices to veer into the carnivalesque."


"...the regimented tracking of time evidenced in Gullow’s Self-Exam reproduces the existential apprehension we face with each waking day, and, as a durational exercise, we understand the project as ongoing and potentially endless – lending a particularly entropic feel to the imagery when seen en masse."  ~Dawn Roe, curator;  a thing re | sembling a win•dow


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

June Exhibitions

CONFETTI

June 10 - July 5

London District Studios
8 London Rd. Asheville, NC

Opening reception is Friday, June 10 (6-10pm)

                                                 "Armament" acrylic and mixed media on canvas 30" x 40" 2016
Confetti marks my first solo exhibition in Asheville since 2012 and I'm delighted to have it in Asheville's new creative space, London District Studios located in an up-and coming industrial neighborhood right around the corner from Biltmore Village.
The paintings in this show are abstracts and landscapes that explore the continuum between biological processes and the mechanized modes of production. When making them, I consider how the materiality of paint can contribute to a narrative - such as the foreboding quality of a drip or the puddling of paint on the canvas. Elemental gestures, dribbles and amalgamations are conveyed in synthetic color to suggest corporeal terrains teetering between celebratory and sick.

More information here.

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a thing re | sembling a win•dow

May 20 - June 25

Asheville Area Arts Council
Grove Arcade, Asheville, NC

Opening reception is Friday, June 3 (5-8 pm)
Performance and panel discussion Thursday, June 9 (6-7:30pm)





I'm thrilled to present an iteration of my Self Exam project as part of this amazing group art exhibit, curated by Dawn Roe of Window re/production re/presentation. The work I am presenting is a site-specific installation comprised of over 1,000 printed reproductions of self portraits that I've produced since July 2013. (You can see some process shots here.) Other artists' work will include sculptural fabrications, analog photography, screen prints and performance.

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Southern Draw

June 10 - July 10

474 Gallery
474 Haywood Road, West Asheville


Artist reception is Friday, July 8 (5-8 pm)



"No Retreat, No Surrender" acrylic on paper 11" x 14" 2016

Southern Draw is a series of exhibitions featuring drawings and works-in-progress by regional artists. My contribution is 15 works on paper interpreting a pool party scene from the 80's B-movie, No Retreat, No Surrender. The drawings illustrate recurring motifs and stereotypes presented in commercial media, and convey the awkward in-between moments of social situations. 
Other Southern Draw artists are: Nora Hartlaub, Hoss Haley and Ron Laboray.

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Haen Gallery (ongoing)

52 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC

My impressionistic oil paintings of people in public spaces are on view at Haen Gallery in downtown Asheville and Brevard, NC.

TV Party 36" x 48" oil on canvas, 2016


Friday, May 20, 2016

Preparation shots for upcoming show



A thing re | sembling a win • dow  opens at the Asheville Area Arts Council Gallery in the Grove Arcade, May 20 - June 24. Curated by Dawn Roe, the exhibit's theme is about the re-presentation of imagery and ideas. Works will include sculptural fabrications, analog photographic process as material, durational painting studies, screen and digital prints, archived audio works, and performance. A panel discussion is scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at 6:00PM. Opening reception is Friday, June 10 5:00-8:00pm. 









Friday, May 13, 2016

WORKSHOP: The Self Portrait Deconstructed


A painting and mixed media workshop 

All levels welcome

Saturday, June 11th  
11am - 5pm
$85.00 
Bring lunch / light snacks provided
London District Studios
8 London Road, Asheville, NC.
For registration information write to ursulagullow@gmail.com


I can dream myself awake mixed media self portrait on canvas 20" x 20"

Self-portrait painting is so fun! Yet, many people get queasy at the thought of painting their own image. I invite you to embrace your personal history and creative perspective through this workshop which explores a process-oriented approach to self-portraiture.
Students will develop basic drawing and painting skills and construct expressive interpretations of themselves. Working from a mirror, students will amass a large variety of sketches and studies on paper emphasizing basic drawing skills, mark-making and color-mixing. Later, students have the option to cut up the sketches and compile them into new mixed-media compositions. 


From left: Hannah Hoch, Frida Kahlo, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Caterina van Hemessen

This exciting and exploratory workshop is open to artists of all levels. I will have art materials available but students are encouraged to bring their own, plus a mirror. A drawing board or tabletop easel is also recommended.

Required materials list:

* A mirror that can be propped up or that stands on it’s own.
*A variety of papers such as: poster paper, mixed media paper, tracing paper, canvas paper, 
Bristol board, and scrapbooking papers
*Several stiff substrates of any size but no smaller than 8” x 8” eg: Canvases, wood panels,
illustration board, canvas boards
*Heavy Body Acrylic Gel Medium

Other: (Instructor will have supplemental materials available)

Charcoal, ballpoint pen, 2B pencil and eraser
Soft bristle flat brushes – assorted sizes
Chalk pastels, colored pencils, markers
Glitter, decals, tissue paper, wrapping paper, decorative paper
Acrylic paints: heavy body, fluid and/or high flow 
Scissors and/or Exacto knife
Cutting mat
Containers for water, paper towels, paint palette

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Contact me at ursulagullow@gmail.com with questions and to register. 

Advance registration is required and class size is limited. 




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Androgynous Mind

Freddie & Me, Arnold & Me, Lincoln & Me 11" x 8.5"each; mixed media on paper; 2015 

Perhaps a mind that is purely masculine cannot create, any more than a mind that is purely feminine.”  - Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

My interest in self portrait painting has lead me to create a series of composite portraits of my face superimposed with an iconic man's face. I'm proud to report that the three portraits pictured here are currently on display at the Wiseman Gallery at Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, Oregon as part of an exhibit exploring gender identity called, Transgendered Realities, curated by the gallery's director, Heather Green. (March 2 – April 8)

When making these portraits I am interested in the somewhat arbitrary physical attributes of gender such as facial hair, jawline strength and skin texture. These paintings let me flirt with the continuum of masculinity and femininity within myself.

The representations are developed through the painting process and not with a digital program. I sit in front of a mirror and paint my own portrait first. Next, I paint the man's portrait on top of my own. I work back and forth to combine the defining characteristics of our faces and build a new androgynous portrait of myself.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Greenville Art Museum 2016 Biennial


"Cave Painting" 30" x 40" acrylic and mixed media on canvas 2015

"Cave Painting" detail

I'm very pleased to have this painting join a legion of fine artworks for the 2016 Biennial Juried Exhibition at Greenville Art Museum in Greenville, NC. The show runs February 5 - April 24.
Opening reception is February 5th 5:00pm-8:00pm
Juror is Theresa Hammond, founding director and curator of Guilford College Art Gallery in Greensboro, NC.